I've been running a 24/60 standard deck ( I believe 2002 with 1000 hrs.) and it's not bad. vx4 deck may have more drag/demand on it. The honda has lots of low end torque. I have replaced two or three coils already so be ready for that. And you MUST take the engine shrouds off every so often to blow out dust, dirt, and grass. I even run a bagging unit on slopes and it takes it but you wouldn't want any less hp in my opinion. It feels like more torque and equal hp to my 28 efi kohler on a 66" xr7 deck, which by the way is a great engine but gutless. I would go with the xone for warranty and the new deck design.